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What, no fall guy?

Manny Ramirez gets slapped with a 50-game suspension for using an illegal substance and tries to justify his actions by saying it was in a drug prescribed for him by a personal doctor who didn't know the substance was banned in baseball.

Too bad.

Ignorance is no defense for violation of the laws.

The spin doctoring, however, is wonderful. Ramirez's people and the union say they considered an appeal but chose not to pursue it because Ramirez doesn't want to miss a significant portion of the second half of the season. As it is, he will return to the Dodgers on July 3, barring postponements. But if he has valid grounds for his appeal, why wouldn't he pursue it? Why would he want to miss any games — early in the season or late?

Unfortunately, in sports, too often special abilities allow athletes to be excused for their failings. Winning is more important to the fans and the men who run ballclubs than morals and ethics.

When Manny Ramirez dogs it so that he can force his way out of Boston, instead of being taken to task by baseball for his failure to live up to his contract, his actions are shrugged off as "Manny being Manny,'' and he is not held accountable for his actions.

This time, though, Manny being Manny isn't good enough.

Baseball has a drug policy that has no tolerance for its violators.

Isn't it wonderful that Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras, are quick to point out that he wasn't using steroids? Like that makes a difference. A banned substance is a banned substance.

Manny's problem is that he thought he was above the law. He thought because he is Manny, baseball would be willing to push it aside and go on as if nothing happened. After all, throughout his life, Manny always has been allowed to create his own set of rules because Manny is a talented athlete and nobody wants to make him mad.

Heaven forbid that making Manny accountable for his actions might have made him a better person.

Now, however, Manny being Manny doesn't cut it.

Baseball is no longer making exceptions or excuses for substance abusers.

The saga of Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, et al is an embarrassment to the game. But there's not a lot that can be done to them.

Laws are not enacted retroactively, so their punishment for cheating is a tarnish on their public image created by the controversy they stirred.

And to be honest, their legacy in baseball is that their arrogance and ignorance allowed the public pressure to become so intense that the players did finally understand the need for testing.

Unfortunately, the game is sucker punched every time a Manny Ramirez is exposed.

"The sad part is that, for whatever reason, there are individuals who don't get it,'' said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "It's sad to me as an ex-player and coach, and now as a manager, that there are so many guys who are clean, and they are thrown under a black cloud. It's even sadder to me as a parent who has a daughter who relies on Human Growth Hormones to have people not understand the impact and value.''

Hurdle's daughter, Madison, who turns seven in August, was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can create low muscle tone, developmental delays, morbid obesity, cognitive disabilities and behavior problems.

Growth hormones are a way of life for her, not a designer drug that will allow her to have an unfair advantage over others.

But then what would Manny Ramirez know about that?

Here is a guy who was so busy pouting a year ago because he was being "forced'' to stay in Boston for a paltry $20 million that he went in the tank so he could get out of town. Even sadder, once he joined the Dodgers, the public was naïve enough to develop sympathy for what Ramirez went through in Boston — a team, it should be remembered, he chose to play for on his own volition as a free agent when he walked out on Cleveland.

Thank goodness baseball has finally been able to create a substance abuse policy that even the self-important, like Ramirez, can't avoid.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 8, 2009

Colorado Rockies News

News » Not even Manny can avoid this sentence

Not even Manny can avoid this sentence

Not even Manny can avoid this sentence
For the better part of two decades, Bud Selig — first as an owner who was part of baseball's labor negotiations and then as commissioner of baseball — lobbied for a meaningful drug-testing policy in the major league.

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